Northern Territory GiovernmentDefence of Darwin Experience

Temporary Exhibitions

Each year, as part of the Bombing of Darwin commemorative activities, which take place annually on 19 February, the Temporary Exhibition Space at the Defence of Darwin Experience will unveil a new feature exhibition.

Current exhibition opens 18 February 2012.

The Anti-Submarine Boom Net

The construction of the anti-submarine boom net during World War II was an extraordinary engineering feat. It was designed to exclude enemy submarines from Darwin Harbour. The net ran from Dudley Point to West Point, a distance of 6.25 km, and was the longest unbroken floating net laid in Australia during World War II.

Special Boom Net Working Vessels (BWVs) were constructed to manage the constant maintenance needs of the net. The strong Darwin tides tore weights away from chains and moved concrete moorings on the harbour floor. The buoys rusted and took on water, while nets and cables would tear or snap, sometimes putting the lives of the riggers at risk. Only in calm seas and neap tides (when there is the least difference between high and low water) could the dangerous and complex repair work be undertaken.

At the end of World War II, the boom net was removed and stored for possible future use. The remains of the shore pylons and concrete footings can be seen at very low tide off Dudley Point and West Point.

HMAS Kookaburra showing the 'horns' of the boom and anchor
HMAS Kookaburra showing the 'horns' of the boom and anchor